Movie Short Review: ‘The President’s Visit’

Greetings again from the darkness. I don’t often look to Lebanon for comedy films, however, director Cyril Aris co-wrote this script with Mounia Akyl, and it’s not only good for some laughs, it also carries quite a message in its brief 19 minute run time.

A small rural fishing town in Lebanon is the setting. Nino, a grown man, lives with his mother and runs a soap shop in town. He gets very little respect from the local fishermen, who often try to take advantage of his meek manner. Faoud Yammine plays Nino, who also is attracted to a local beauty played by (co-writer) Mounia Akyl. Nino fumbles his way through their interactions the way a teenage boy might.

One day Nino gets a phone call at the shop. The country’s new President is on a mission to “clean up” the government – rid it of corruption and greed. What better marketing campaign than stocking up on soap from a local businessman, and Nino has been chosen.

The gag here is that Nino is supposed to keep the visit a secret. Of course once he tells his uncle, the gossip tree lights up and human nature takes over. Hilarity and self-interest ensues. The film makes a statement about our attraction to power and willingness to do whatever necessary to make ourselves look important to those we deem as powerful. So Mr. Aris film is simultaneously funny and a bit sad.

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